Abyssinian cat inherited its famous magnificent coat from the African wild cat. If you compare the photos of modern Aby cats and their wild ancestors, the similarity in color that enthralls the lovers of the breed becomes obvious. But it’s also obvious that wild African ancestors had stripes and rings on their coat. First cats of Abyssinian breed also had such a highlight, but breeders tried to get rid these specific marks, which made the appearance of the breed a bit different.
It is believed that the ancestor of all modern Abyssinian cats is Zulu – a cat brought to Britain Ethiopia (then Abyssinia) by the wife of Mr. Barrett, a British Captain. This significant event took place in 1868. England, as the home of felinology, couldn’t leave such a wonderful creation as Zulu without attention – probably her unusual coat inspired breeders to create a new cat breed.
Abyssinian cats have been first demonstrated to the public at the world’s first cat show in 1871, and already in 1882 the Abyssinian cat breed received the official status. Today it is one of the most beautiful breeds recognized by all feline organizations and known worldwide.
The first thing that attracts attention when you look at the cat of the breed is its fantastically beautiful coat. As if it is strewn with millions of tiny diamonds, it sparkles and shimmers especially in the sun beams. Abyssinian cats seem to be aware of the impression they make, and maybe that’s the reason why they like to show their splendor, moving gracefully or stretching themselves with pleasure. Their coat shimmer is the result of special coloring called agouti ticking (or flecking). Every hair is colored with rings of two contrasting colors.
There are many color variations of agouti ticking, but the most popular coat colors are ruddy, blue and sorrel. All color variations have something in common: each hair is lighter in its base and the stripes color is darker and richer. It is desirable that the hair tip was of darker color. Footpads should be also colored darker.
Elegant Abyssinian cats fascinate with their grace. Animals of this breed are slender, but not too thin. The body is strong and sinewy, of elongated shape, with long legs. The tail is long, tapering from the base to the tip. Ears and eyes of an Aby cat is another highlight of the breed. The ears are large, broad at the base, with the so-called thumb print on the outer side. The eyes are expressive with the moving and somewhat playful look; they resemble two almond nuts of warm amber or rich emerald color. The eyelids look as if they are penciled with the dark eyeliner, resembling the makeup of Egyptian pharaohs.
It may be disappointing, but let’s be honest – these gods and goddesses of the feline tribe won’t be a perfect pet for everyone. An Abyssinian will be happy in a big noisy family, in the company of active young people, living with retired people able to spend enough time with the cat. But Aby cats definitely won’t meet the needs of people who take cats only as sofa decorations and of those who spend most of the time outside, in this case we recommend you to look for a cat of any other breed.
Abyssinians are very active and inquisitive animals. They enjoy having a walk (with their owner, of course), they are interested in new acquaintances and would always prefer playing with other cats or pets to restful sleeping.
Abyssinian kittens show their affection towards their owners from the very childhood. Without a doubt they prefer theory to practice. Besides playing games, these cats are happy to sleep in the arms of their owner, hugging and purring.
Housing and care
To keep the diamond coat of your Abyssinian cat in excellent condition, it’s enough to stroke the coat with a silk flap. When you need to remove shed hairs it is enough to stroke the pet slightly with your wet hands or to use a special rubber glove with antistatic for cats.
There is only one peculiarity in housing a representative of this breed: Abyssinian kittens are incredibly agile and smart animals. If the kitten is interested in something, it will inevitably get it. Therefore it is important to ensure safe life conditions, to be attentive to your pet’s actions and to provide the opportunity to vent its endless energy (for example, installing a large gaming complex).
Abyssinian cat is a healthy breed. They are more likely to suffer from injuries as a result of their being too active than from ailments. However, kidneys are their weak spot. The disease called renal amyloidosis occurs in Abyssinian cats rarely, but with surprising regularity. Cats of other breeds also may suffer from amyloidosis – that is why choosing an Aby kitten it would be better to apply to a professional nursery. Breeders carefully check the animals admitted to breeding, so the chance to acquire an unhealthy kitten from a competent breeder is extremely small.